Kaia Health unveils a feasibility study to explore a digital COPD treatment for Japan’s ageing population

Kaia Health’s COPD app could be made available in Japan if the feasibility study proves successful.
By Dean Koh
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Digital therapeutics company Kaia Health has unveiled a feasibility study to examine the impact of its digital therapeutic treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) on Japan’s ageing population. This follows a German pilot study which successfully decreased symptoms.

COPD is an umbrella term to describe chronic lung diseases that cause limitations in lung airflow. According to the , 64 million people are diagnosed with COPD and it will be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

In Japan, COPD represents a major health problem and socioeconomic burden. Patients with COPD experience a reduced quality of life (QoL) and report significant use of health care resources. The prevalence of COPD in Japan is 8.6% in patients aged ≥40 years and up to 10.3% in patients aged ≥60 years. It is hoped that the Kaia Health COPD app could be made available in Japan if the feasibility study proves successful.

In November 2018, a peer-reviewed clinical study, published in the , demonstrated that Kaia Health’s COPD app successfully reduced symptoms.

Users who completed 20 therapy days with the Kaia COPD app had a clinically significant benefit in their Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) scores as well as other areas, including emotion, mastery, and fatigue.

The Kaia Health COPD app addresses physical and psychological factors of the disease. The content is based on clinically validated patient guidelines and allows users to better self-manage their COPD.

The app includes video-based physiotherapy which offers exercises to help patients build muscle and promote a healthy cardiovascular system, whilst a training algorithm adjusts the support based on each patient’s disease profile and feedback.

Psychosocial support is provided through audio-based relaxation exercises to manage anxiety and depression and to cope with dyspnea attacks.

Patients can also a coach via the app who will answer app-specific questions, work with users on their individual goals and offer motivation.

The app teaches patients about breathing and coughing techniques, nutrition and advice on the impact air pollution has on their condition. Alerts inform patients when medication is due, and video instructions help patients to perfect inhalation - a necessity as

“Conventional COPD treatment is expensive and resource-intense, particularly in developed countries such as Japan which has a huge ageing populations and rapidly increasing healthcare costs. Our AI-powered COPD treatment is effective, widely accessible and can be used at home. This empowers patients to take control and self-manage their COPD with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, affordable alternatives which means more people globally can benefit from it,” said Konstantin Mehl, Founder & CEO of Kaia Health.

In January this year, Kaia Health raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Balderton Capital. The new money will be used to help the German company expand further into the US. As part of the plan the company will open a new office in New York City and fund more clinical studies on their AI-powered motion tracking technology called the Perfect Squat Challenge app, which was launched in June 2018.

The Kaia COPD app is currently only available in German speaking countries on smartphones and tablets (iOS and Android) and can be downloaded via the or . For a limited period, individuals can download the app and participate in a free usability test for their COPD when filling out a symptoms questionnaire at the start of the therapy.